Rockingham man’s generous donation
A MAN who was homeless for three years, now turned gardener, has received a $5000 car from a generous donor to help kick-start his new career.
New Zealander Joseph Hatu was living on the streets of Mandurah, depressed and suicidal, until he was pulled out of the darkness by Halo and WA Homeless Advocate.
“I lost my job as an operator on the mines so I had no choice but to turn to the streets,” Mr Hatu said.
“I was eating out of bins, looking for scraps, but not once did I beg or make people feel sorry for me.”
Mr Hatu said if it was not for the generosity of WA Homeless Advocate owner Owen Farmer, he would not be where he is today.
“I’ve owned the car for 12 years and it was time for me to upgrade,” Mr Farmer said.
“I could’ve made money out of selling the car but I was more than willing to give it away to Joseph so he can use it to get around with his gardening business.
“I just wanted to do the right thing by someone.”
Halo manager Dee Freitag said Joseph would not accept help from them when they first met because he could not pay his way.
“One day I approached him and asked him why he was on the street and why he wasn’t applying at our Halo house and he said ‘someone else needs it more than me’,” she said.
“Eventually I said to him ‘why don’t you start your own gardening business, which would help you pay your rent, your accommodation?’.
“It took ages to convince him but I finally did it.”
Mr Hatu has since received Halo’s help with accommodation at its safe house, identification, clothing and advertising his gardening business named Tumeke.
“I thought gardening was a service people required because some are busy and don’t have time to garden. I’ve had nine clients in three weeks of starting my business and four of them are already keen to stick with me in the future,” he said.
“It will take a while for me to get there, as the jobs that I do will pay for the tools I need for the job, but you have to spend money to make money.”
Mr Hatu said because of his New Zealand citizenship, he has had difficulties claiming Centrelink assistance.
“Halo has given me encouragement and all I needed was a hand up, not a handout,” he said.
Mr Hatu said he would hope others who were in a situation like homelessness.
“My advice to others in my situation is to go on, give it a go you mug,” he said.
Kath Palmer, Halo’s Dee Freitag, Joseph Hatu and Owen Farmer with the car Joseph will use to launch his gardening business.